Unfavourable judgement by on-line claims court
Thread poster: Maria Antonietta Ricagno

Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
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English to Italian
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Sep 9, 2004

Dear all,

this is just to inform about what happened to me:
a UK agency owed 3 invoices (about 1,700GBP) last year in summer; well, they started quarrelling due to internal reasons among the partners, so at last the one who had the power to sign our cheques refused to do so.
Result: about 30 translators are still waiting for their invoices to be paid.
One of them decided to turn to an on-line claim court, and he succeeded in getting his money.
So, I thought, I have all the evidence - invoices, e-mails, PO's - why should I not try?
Result: I paid the Court fee (120 GBP)and I got a negative judgment ('The judgment be set aside').
Anybody who experienced a similar misadventure?
ciao
Antonella


[Edited at 2004-09-09 16:48]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-09-09 17:06]


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Alejandra Villarroel  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 20:56
English to Spanish
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on-line claim court? Sep 9, 2004

Could you tell us more about this apparently interesting option?


ALE


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aneta_xh  Identity Verified
English to Albanian
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What was the court's explanation? Sep 9, 2004

I never heard of an online court. But what was the Court's explanation of its negative decision? please give more details.

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Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
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explanation Sep 9, 2004

aneta_xh wrote:

I never heard of an online court. But what was the Court's explanation of its negative decision? please give more details.





No explanation. Perhaps something went wrong. I reserve to ask them.
An online court is a service offered by some courts to people - often living abroad - to claim for money. Of course, you have to pay a fee for that.

anto


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Deborah Shannon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:56
Member (2002)
German to English
"Set aside" is not a judgement Sep 9, 2004

anto wrote:

Result: I paid the Court fee (120 GBP)and I got a negative judgment ('The judgment be set aside').
Edited at 2004-09-09 16:48]


Dear Antonella,

I'm not a legal expert but I think "set aside" means "postponed". Your case may not have been judged yet. This is probably just a delaying tactic by the agency.

Ask the court what date a proper judgement will be handed down. (I suspect the agency might pay up just before that date, to avoid problems with their credit record.)

So, don't give up yet!

Good luck - Deborah


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Luis Arri Cibils  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:56
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
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Setting aside Sep 10, 2004

Ah, a linguist’s delight! What does “to set aside" mean? Webster gives the following: (1) to set apart (i.e., also per Webster, to separate and keep for a purpose; to reserve); (2) to discard, dismiss, reject; and (3) to annul or declare void. Given the context, both as a legal translator and a lawyer (mind you, from the U.S., and with very little info about your case) I would conclude, though, from your information, that the court rejected your claim.

If I am right, (and we, omniscient lawyers, are always right, aren’t we?), I would ask two questions: (1) why did the court “set aside” the case?; and (2) what can be done now?

It is possible, for example, that the agency filed for bankruptcy (between the time of your colleague's favorable judgment and the time of your filing of your claim.) Thus, the court where you filed the case no longer has jurisdiction. You would have to file your claim in the bankruptcy court. By doing so, you'll become a general creditor, hoping to get, perhaps, ten cents on the dollar, if that much. In some circumstances, you may try to recover from the personal assets of any and all agency’s partners. It is not a simple matter and to pursue it will likely cost more than you can recover.

It is also possible that you did not submit all the proper papers. The P.O. might have been wrong for some technical reason. You might not have submitted adequate evidence that you are entitled to be paid. Perhaps the court did not accept your e-mails as sufficient proof that there was a contract. Whatever. I am speculating here. Often it is so clear that we are on the right, we fail to prove to the court that we are entitled to recover by the “preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not.”)

You need to learn why the court ruled against you. The court may have issued a brief holding. Yet, the other guys, I am sure, somewhat filed “papers.” Those papers should be a matter of public record. Certainly they should be available to you. Ask for them and read them. Somehow the court found that what the other guys said was more convincing (or, really, that you were not more convincing than them.) You must learn what was the argument that convinced the court, even if the court does not state it clearly.

Once you know why you lost, you may appeal. Because this is so much of a “lower court,” I would guess (only a Brit lawyer can tell you that,)you can appeal to the regular court where you would have filed the case if it were not for the “online court.” It is possible that that court would allow for a “de novo” review, meaning that you can submit additional evidence, if you did it in a technically deficient manner at the lower court.

Once you have learned where you stand, you should be able to evaluate whether it is worthwhile to pursue the matter further. In the U.S., some courts allow the prevailing plaintiff to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the other side (making it feasible for shallow pocket plaintiffs to keep fighting in the courts). Some courts don’t. I have no idea what UK courts would do. In any event, beware that you can recover only REASONABLE attorney's fees (which are not necessarily the fees that your attorney will charge to you. Have any one heard of attorney’s fees, or even attorneys for that matter, that are reasonable?

The best possible luck.

Luis


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Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
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Thank you Sep 10, 2004

Dear all,

thank you for your advice.
Of course I do not intend to give it up, because I do not deem fair to be robbed of my job (by the way, last year I renounced to my summer holidays to work on their manuals).
So, I have laready prepared a letter to the Court asking for an explanation, which I think it is my right.
I will keep you informed.

ciao

Antonella


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Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
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English to Italian
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Explanation Sep 10, 2004

Hi everybody


just to inform you that the Court sent the explanation for the judgment: formal error in the amount claimed. There was an inconsistency between the amount the agency owes and the total amount including the Court fee and the interests.
Anyway, had I not enquired, nobody would have informed me about the reasons for the rejection/way to fix the problem and re-start.
In the end, I will re-send a claim.


ciao

Antonella


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Jason Willis-Lee  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
Spanish to English
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Small claims court Sep 13, 2004

Alejandra Villarroel wrote:

Could you tell us more about this apparently interesting option?


ALE


I think Sara is referring to the UK small claims court which can be useful for claiming sums of money up to and including 5000 pounds. This is the first time i have heard of translators using it for errant payers though, I would be interested in the final outcome.

Best of luck+
Jason


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